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Old Tymer

Junior
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Aug 27, 2008
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Hello Everyone,
Now I know that today wine is made by adding yeast and extreme sanitation to say in the simplest form, but when I talk to all of the old time Italians, and from what I remember when I was a kid, the wine they made contained no added yeast but instead tons of sugar. Now these guys have been making wine for 20 years in this process and have not had any bad batches. Now I am going to ask them for this recipe but they keep telling me its all about the grapes. Is there anyone out there who knows how to make wine this way that can explain it to me and how it actually works?
Thanks in advance!
 

Wine Maker

Rocco
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Jun 9, 2007
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I replied to this post last night but for some reason it isn't showing up. Any way, in the past, and even today, some winemakers prefer to let the natural "wild" yeast in the grapes ferment the juice into wine without the addition of commercial yeast. The process is very simple but can lead to a few problems. First you simply crush the grapes into an open container, place in a warm area and after a few days the wild yeast will begin fermentation. The problems that can arise are 1) the wild yeast is not strong enough to complete fermentation thus you end up with a stuck fermentation and a very sweet wine with low alcohol, 2) the grapes do not contain enough nutrients for the wild yeast thereby causing a hydrogen sufide odor (rotten eggs), and 3) it is impossible to make a consistent wine year after year.

The addition of sugar during fermentation only increases the potential alcohol of the wine thus if the wild yeast is not strong enough the sugar will not be consumed and you will end of up with a stuck fermentation.

I would not risk my investment in grapes and time to make a wine that has a greater potential of not turning out. Through commercial yeast and nutrients your chances of making consistent and good wine year after year are greatly enhanced.

The "old timers" most likely did not use sulfites either. Sulfites are needed to protect the wine from oxidation and bacteria growth in order to age the wine.
 

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